Several knife companies are re-introducing old patterns. Do you view these knives as true to the original maker and therefore collectible, like the Case Family Brands, or Great Eastern's Northfield and Tidioute?
And how much different is what these firms are doing than when WR Case acquired the Platts Brand, or any other brand acquired by a firm to produce knives stamped with that brand?
Back when CASE bought PLATT people bought knives to use. Very few people bought a knife with the idea of saving it thinking the value would rise. The CASE knife made today is confusing alot of young collectors who think they can get in on the ground floor and retire on the price sky rocketing. One company tried using the CATTARAUGUS name on a knife made in Japan but the true collectors backed away from them. When the secret got out about JACK KNIFE BEN knives some good old boys started making trapper patterns and other fakes but you put one of those on ebay and the experts really shy away from them.
OK. I'm probably going to step on someone's toes here. Please know that I mean no offense whatever. If you like the knives I'm about to discuss, by all means, buy all you can afford and enjoy them.
I am a collector of old, pre-1965 Robeson pocketknives. I especially like the pre-WWII knives, but I have many made after that as well.
Robeson was very innovative. Their PocketEze line of knives had the blade backs flush with the frame to reduce pocket wear by that sharp edge at the top of the tang; the MasterCraft line had bronze bearings attached to the back of the tang and that bore on the inside edge of the backspring, reducing friction and making the knives more easily opened and closed.
Robeson went out of business in 1965. The workers disbursed to other jobs. The factory closed and was eventually torn down. But, the name,"Robeson" was a commodity that could be sold, and it was. Initially, a company called Cutler Federal bought it and had knives made using the Robeson name, but they were not of Robeson quality, not even the quality of the 1960's Robeson knives. They were made by Camillus, possibly others, as well. They are not nice knives. Then, the name was sold to Ontario Knife, the parent company of Queen. In the early 1990's Queen began to make "reproduction" Robeson knives. Now, they make knives at the behest of Smokey Mountain Knife Works. They are decent knives, well made, and apparently accumulated/collected by many. The problem is, they have produced patterns as "reproductions" that Robeson never actually produced, such as the Canoe, and Railsplitter, and Norfolk Whittler patterns. Even worse, they make knives with a PocketEze shield and the blades are not flush with the frame, thus the knives are not easy on one's pocket. They make a line of MasterCraft knives that do not have a bronze bearing on the tang, thus they are not MasterCraft knives. They even created a MasterCraft tang stamp that Robeson never used. They produced a line of knives with "Strawberry" bone handles that comes nowhere near the appearance of fresh strawberries, as the old 1950's Robesons did.
I'm a purist when it comes to Robeson knives. Anything made after the factory in Perry closed in 1965 just isn't a Robeson. It's something else, I'm not sure what, but it isn't a Robeson.
Lots of people collect and enjoy comtemporary American and foreign made knives. I have no problem with those collectors.
I do, however, and as evidenced by my previous post, have a problem with a company or a group of companies, taking the name of a dead, but once fantastic manufacturer of pocketknives and bastardizing that name for profit by creating contrived collectibles. What Ontario Knife and SMKW have done looks like something The Franklin Mint would have done if they had acquired the name instead.
Great Robeson toenails Scott! They look like a perfectly matched pair. I only have the two backspring version, but it's an old salesman's sample with inked numbers on the back of the master. I do not think anyone else made a two spring toenail, but you'd know that better than I.
At the risk of talking Elephant Toenails here, talked to the folks at Ka-Bar at the Blade Show. Nice guys! They showed me their current production toenail produced from their Union Cut (Razor) toenail. They had Canal Street make the knife. They attest to it being made to mirror their co's old one. It looked good. They didn't have any for sale then, so I ordered #26 from them should come in soon. AG Russell bought #01- 25 and they are for sale in his catalog now.
Maybe too it was made by aliens :) So if I got dig this knife out, what resources are available to determine if it was made on contract or not? Or how do we know the single pull wasn't the contract knife. In other words, we can speculate all we want, but how we gonna know.
I feel that you can not remake the originals they are in a class of there own!! I collect some remakes in Winchesters made in the 90s for Blue Grass ,along with the Remington Arms, But its hard to find old
original mint knives, but these do have there place in all the collector books.